Yesterday, I woke up and someone told me there was no Santa.
Ok, that didn’t exactly happen. But the hit was just as hard when I read about Kim Cattrall’s straight-up lashing of Sarah Jessica Parker on her Instagram page. I mean, how can I ever watch Carrie and Samantha on old Sex & the City reruns and feel the same?! Yes, for years I had read that they didn’t exactly get along great. And, yes, recently, it’s been a little more public, but…
Ladies, ladies… can’t we just work this out? For my sake? I want to laugh openly at Samantha’s hilarious blunt commentary on sex and men, and I want to know Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte are laughing, too. And I want to know they mean it, dammit!
Is this too much for a suburban mom closing in on middle age to ask?! I can no longer watch The Cosby Show and Charles in Charge. Are you gonna take this from me, too?!
Let’s move on before I start talking about House of Cards…
Health & Body update!
The YoYo’s Guide to Getting Fit.
Back in December, my sweet friend Jen invited me to work out with her personal trainer for a session. He was great and took me aside for a quick breakdown of my (eating and exercise) past and my future goals. I heard myself say, “I’m really good at diets. I can stick to anything for long periods…. Atkins, Weight Watchers, South Beach… Oh! I did that one where you eat a Saltine cracker and cottage cheese for three days… “ As I rattled off every diet plan I have tried, conquered and then eventually abandoned, he listened patiently. When I finished, he simply wrote on his pad of paper: YoYo Dieter.
That was it. Nothing else.
It’s funny. When someone else simply sums up the last twenty years of your eating habits – all of the heartache, the wins, the losses, the tight jeans, the loose jeans, the starving, the binging, the temporary pride, the not-so-temporary shame – into two simple words, it’s a true reckoning.
It’s also just that simple.
And I’m exhausted just remembering it all.
I decided last year that I am done with fad-diets for good*. I decided, going forward, this was going to be all about a general, healthy change of habits and mindset. For me, for my husband and for my daughters.
So, after I posted that glorious photo a few weeks ago, I still wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to go about this. What I did know was that I didn’t want to join any “challenges” or groups, take any supplemental products, and/or burn myself out on some crazy regimen. In my mind, again, I wanted this to be a change of lifestyle – not a temporary challenge. My plan was and is to go by trial and error and learn more about my body and what affects it on my own.
I gotta tell you, so far, so good. And the one thing that I used to grumble and gripe about and swear I would never do… I am 100% doing and it’s so. damn. easy.
Ok, are you ready for my secret to (so far) success?
Are you ready for the magic trick that I never really tried until now?
Are you ready to hear what has changed my life and is actually working?!
Wait for it….
Ok, here it is…
I friggen count calories.
Yep, that’s it. I count calories.
I don’t figure out WW points. I don’t count carbs. I don’t calculate protein and sugars and carbohydrates.
I just count calories. And I make smarter choices with regard to what foods I’m putting in my body, but I also sometimes eat a cookie. And I count it. And I stay in my calorie range. Counting calories is basically The Idiot’s Guide to Portion Control. And it’s honest to God the easiest and best thing I’ve done in years. Because it’s not about avoiding something to the point I feel I’ve failed if I eat it. It truly is about portion control. And the more you do it, the more you have a handle on what is an acceptable portion. (<—- And that, right there, is a sustainable way to live for life.)
It’s that simple for me right now. It may not work for others, but this is what is working for me – and it’s working quite well.
Would I have lost triple the amount of weight so far if I were doing Atkins? Yep. Is that a sustainable way to live in my personal experience? No, not for me. For others, absolutely. I wish you well in whatever program you wish to do (Weight Watchers is a great plan, by the way). But I wanted something simple, something clear, something where no food is off limits and where I didn’t need a special calculator to figure out food points, etc. Calories are pretty cut and dry – they are what they are – and guess what? A 300 calorie candy bar is the same as eating a 300 calorie salad. Calories are calories. (Yeah, I may not feel as great after I eat a candy bar instead of a salad, but that’s not a choice I make regularly anyway.)
I’ve been watching this docu-series on HBO called The Weight of the Nation. (I actually started watching it after I decided to just count calories.) I highly recommend it if you want a very clear and informative outlook of the current weight issue in the states and also the mindset so many people are struggling with with regard to food, health and body image. In the very first episode, they affirm the fact that calories are calories – and what you are putting into your body comes down to portions.
Ok, the second secret to my success so far?
I do at least 30 minutes of some kind of workout every day. And I also just move. I work from home, so I was moving a lot less than the average person. I don’t walk to my car to get to work, I don’t walk into or around an office building. I wasn’t moving. I came down my stairs and sat down and worked from my comfy chair in the living room. You wouldn’t think that it should make much of a difference, but I assure you the minute you strap on a step-counter and see how little you are actually moving during the day, it’s a wake-up call!
So, it was time to make some serious changes in the moving category.
I joined the gym. Three weeks later, I unjoined the gym. Because I never went. Not even once. Like, I hadn’t even been issued a key card. Because I never went into the actual building.
See… trial and error.
I quickly realized I was just not going to get myself there, so I needed to create an environment at home that would get me moving. Although it’s not the perfect set-up (yet), I’ve found a way to make it happen. And it’s working.
So, this is where some tips and (unsponsored) product pushing comes in. Again, unsponsored. I am not telling you that you need to do things my way or have these things in order to succeed (you have to find out what works best for you). I’m just telling you about a few things that have helped me out tremendously so far – and that I recommend.
Five “Currently Can’t Live Without” items:
1. Step/Movement Counter.
There is instant gratification in seeing that fabulous number of proof staring right at you confirming that you are moving. And the great thing is that step-counters can be relatively cheap (depending on what kind you are looking for). There so many different options out there that I think mostly everyone can find the right step counter for themselves. And I promise you, once you see how much (or how little) you are moving every day, you become almost obsessively intent on upping your activity.
If you are looking to really splurge, I honestly can’t recommend enough the Apple Watch. I went back and forth for over a year on whether I wanted to buy one of these puppies, because they are not cheap and, also “Do I want to be that connected?” The funny thing is that I’m less connected than ever! This watch has gotten me off my butt and moving (it’s a personal challenge for me to close those activity circles by the end of each day), while also providing email alerts for work so that I can ditch my phone (and all of the added time-wasters that come with it). I’m also (embarrassingly) one of those people that just likes everything to sync and connect the easiest way possible and since I have an iPhone and work off of a MacBook, this was a great option.
I love, love, love it more than I thought I ever would.
Yep. I said bread.
I cannot and will not give up bread. And, yes, I’m totally obsessed with the completely cliche avocado toast. In fact, nearly every morning, I eat 1/2 avocado on a slice of Udi’s Gluten Free bread (I swear by it, it’s thick and hearty) drizzled with olive oil and pepper flakes with a side of 3 fried egg whites.
It’s very specific, I know. But it’s my favorite!
3. Treadmill + Podcasts = Perfection
Listen, I think treadmills get a bad rap. I will fully admit that we have had one for years and it has not seen much action, until now. And I’d much rather be outside for a run/walk, but the cold hard truth is that it’s fricken cold outside right now – and this is the most convenient option. But it’s also a great option! There are so many good treadmill workouts out there that will get your heart rate going! There are even some great HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts out there – all at your fingertips online! I’m currently doing the Couch to 5K app, because I’ve never been a runner and I want to train myself to run… on purpose… without being chased.
Yeah, I know that walking/running in the same place on a conveyor belt can get tedious. That’s where podcasts come in. I looooove podcasts. I’m brand spanking new to them and I don’t know why I didn’t explore them sooner. No matter what your interests are, you can find a podcast about them. I’m a Dateline junkie, so I’m a big fan of the murder mystery podcasts like Serial. Right now I’m listening to the series Dirty John (of which I already know the outcome, but it’s fascinating to listen to just the same).
I also have some guilty podcast pleasures… like Straight Up With Stassi.
3. My Net Diary
There are lots of food/activity logging sites out there, but My Net Diary is by far my favorite and it’s free! It has a very user-friendly dashboard and is as simple as they come. The app is also available on my phone and watch, so everything syncs up beautifully. When I work out, my watch sends my activity calories straight to My Net Diary. I don’t do a thing. It also keeps track of the nutrients of your foods and the percentages of carbs, protein, etc. that you are eating during the day. Though I’m only counting calories right now, I don’t worry about all the extras; however, I will say that when I see my carb intake a higher than recommended percentage, I’ll usually be more conscious for the rest of the day.
4. Need more kettlebell, baby!
Oh man, I have officially fallen in love with the kettlebell. If I could recommend one good (inexpensive) buy, it would be the kettlebell. I picked mine up for $14 at TJ Maxx (mine is a 15 lb bell, but I want to get at least one more size). There are SO many great workouts online. My favorite is a “supplemental” ten minute workout that I do on top of my regular 30-minute run/walk. You can find it here: 10 Minute Kettlebell Workout. It’s just ten minutes, but you’re going to feel it the next day, trust me.
5. Cute workout clothes.
Ok, fine. They don’t have to be cute. This is so superficial. And, honestly, I told myself that I was not going to go out and buy hoards of new yoga pants and sweatshirts – especially when my end-goal is to lose about 16 pounds, so why would I buy clothes now that may not fit right later?!
Well, here’s the thing – if you know me, you know I’m a clothes-horse. I love clothes. Always have, always will. And though I thought my two pairs of black yoga pants could carry me through the next few months, I quickly learned doing laundry every few days to clean them was getting annoying. So, I ran to TJ Maxx (Do you sense a theme? I swear, this is not sponsored!) and they have so many cute (and colorful) workout clothes for such a good deal! Activewear is not cheap, so when I see really cute and inexpensive deals, I’ve been grabbing them.
Plus, my ultimate goal is to have more dresser drawers for workout wear as opposed to pajamas. Currently, the pajama drawers are winning 3 to 1.
Ok, so there you have it. My four-week update. I’m sorry there are no current photos of me in the (unfortunate) sports bra and yoga pants – I know you’re super disappointed. I will have progress photos up in a few weeks. As of today, I’ve lost 4.5 pounds. That may not seem like much to you, but trust me – on this 5′ 3″ frame, it makes all the difference. And the real win here is that I feel fantastic. I mean, fantastic. My energy is soaring and my anxiety is more in check than ever. You don’t have time to sit around and worry about the next tragedy when you’re out there living your life and moving.
If you’ve got any tricks of the trade you swear by, let me know in the comments here, on Instagram or on the Lemons Into Vodka Facebook page. What keeps you active and/or eating right? What do you struggle with?
Live your best life is such a cliche thing to say, I know. But it really is something to think about. We all can get so caught up the auto-pilot excuse of busy-ness or we can make time to take care of ourselves. If you’re reading this, you have been given the gift of 2018. There are so many who haven’t. I can’t tell you what your best way to live is, but I can tell you that you are the one (and only one) who is in control of finding out.
Plus, my dad always taught me, “Excuses only satisfy the ones who make them.”
p.s. To find more about the workouts I’m saving and recipes I’m making, follow my Pinterest board The YoYo’s Guide to Getting Fit.
*I did the Whole30 last year, but I don’t consider that a “diet” or fad. It was much more a learning experience for me on what certain foods do to my body and mindset, and I am still so glad I did it, because I learned so much from that experience.